After the six major studios wrapped up their turns in front of the CinemaCon convention goers with 20th Century Fox earlier today, it was Lionsgate‘s turn to carry the flag for the indie sector, even though NATO’s John Fithian said last year that in Lionsgate we are seeing the birth of the “seventh major studio”. And although some of the speakers during the company’s relatively brief presentation this afternoon took up that mantle, Lionsgate in its sizzle reel actually touted the fact that they are the only non-major to actually go over $1 billion in a single year — certainly thanks to the dynamic duo of Summit’s Twilight finales and The Hunger Games, which became the third-highest-grossing film of 2012 with more than $400 million domestically. So are they are a major? A mini-major? A true independent? Or just a money-minting film company with a couple of franchises the real majors would kill for (and in the case of Twilight actually passed on — ouch).
But as befits any wannabe major, a spiffier, more corporate logo was in order, and as Deadline reported earlier they debuted it for the theatre owners here in Las Vegas. As distribution head Richie Fay put it during his turn onstage, “Lionsgate is an overnight success that was 12 years in the making”.
As far as the presentation went, Lionsgate certainly took an independent route from the way the majors have behaved all week, offering a musical-chairs lineup of executives taking their turn in front of delegates who crowded into the Colosseum to check out the product. In addition to Fay, we also heard from CEO and co-founder Jon Feltheimer, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Rob Friedman and AMC theatres exec Elizabeth Frank, who pointed out the company released 20 major films in 2012 and led the field 11 separate weeks. She said her company was looking forward to the 17 movies on tap this year and many of them were showcased for the first time over the course of the 80-minute show emceed by comedian Kevin Hart. READ MORE »
The stock price is down more than 13% this morning following the release of disappointing financials for the quarter that ended in February — including sales of The Hunger Games trilogy that CEO Richard Robinson says were “significantly lower than our expectations.” Scholastic ended the period with a $20.1M loss, vs a $10.3M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $380.5M, -18.5%. The revenue figure was short of analysts’ expectation for $384.2M. The drop from last year was largely due to “lower sales of the Hunger Games trilogy vs last year, when we benefited from an extraordinarily strong book revenues in advance of the film release in March,” Robinson told analysts this morning. The publisher also says that it was hurt by local school systems that shifted spending from books to professional development and training materials and digital products including iPads. As a result of the setbacks, Scholastic lowered its forecast for the fiscal year that ends in May. Read More »
Netflix Nabs ‘Hunger Games’ For The UK & Ireland
Netflix has secured exclusive rights to The Hunger Games for the UK and Ireland before it hits the streaming service in the U.S. Netflix entered the market in January 2012 where Amazon’s Lovefilm is a strong player and where Sky continues to build its business. It hit 1M subscribers last August and has UK deals with studios including Disney, Fox, NBCU, Paramount and Miramax.
Bérénice Bejo To Star In ‘Le Dernier Diamant’
The Artist star Bérénice Bejo has booked her latest French film and will start shooting next week. The Eric Barbier-directed Le Dernier Diamant co-stars Yvan Attal, Jean-François Stévenin and Annie Cordy. France’s Vertigo Productions is producing with international sales handled by Other Angle Pictures. The heist movie follows an ex-con who is coerced into participating in the theft of a celebrated diamond during an auction in Antwerp and who becomes entangled with the diamond’s owner (Bejo). Read More »
Lionsgate execs had to do a little balancing act this morning when they talked to Wall Street analysts about the early plans for the movie version of author Veronica Roth’s … Read More »
NBCUniversal’s Spanish-language video operation wants to be seen as a movie destination — probably a smart strategy in light of reports showing a surge in movie-going by Latino audiences. The new multi-year agreement with Lionsgate extends their … Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine
Who better to provide a voice to the well-received feature adaptation The Hunger Games than the generation’s most popular soulful vocalist, 23-year-old Taylor Swift? However, when Lionsgate executives and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter … Read More »
The education-focused publishing company seemed subdued today, less than a week after the tragic school shootings in Connecticut. In a conference call with analysts to discuss earnings, Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson expressed sympathy for families of the murdered students and teachers. He also urged schools to continue to promote “optimism and hope,” while officials provide the “mental health resources our schools must have.” As for the financials: Cost savings helped, but weren’t enough to overcome declining sales of The Hunger Games trilogy and other disappointments. Shares are down 2.8% in early trading after Scholastic reported net income of $61.8M for the three months that ended in November, -25.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $616.2M, -10.1%. Analysts expected revenues of about $632.5M. Earnings, at $1.89 a share, also fell short of the $2.05 that the Street anticipated. Read More »
The sequel to the first The Hunger Games isn’t due for almost exactly a year — on November 22, 2013 — but Lionsgate has released a cool motion poster on Catching Fire‘s Facebook page. Check it out but beware the autoplay: Read More »
The frontloaded worldwide total for Summit Entertainment’s Breaking Dawn Part 2 is $340.9M through today – or $141.3M domestic + $199.6M international. That helped its parent company Lionsgate achieve a first-ever milestone for it at the North American box office – … Read More »
Stock prices are up 7.5% in post-market trading after the independent studio reported earnings for the September quarter that even surprised some of its biggest supporters on Wall Street. The Hunger Games video sales helped Lionsgate to generate net … Read More »
Francis Lawrence is seeing through Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games franchise until the end. The director of the first sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, now in production, has now signed on to helm the final two installments of the series, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2, which splits the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two films. Danny Strong is writing both Mockingjay pics, and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are back to star. The final two movies follow heroine Katniss Everdeen’s journey as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol, and she must decipher for herself who she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.
Lawrence, whose credits include Constantine, I Am Legend and most recently Water For Elephants, replaced Gary Ross at the helm of Catching Fire in April. He was chosen in a race that came down to Lawrence and Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller, after Juan Antonio Bayona couldn’t do it. He is currently wrapping production on the pic with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Amanda Plummer joining the cast. Lawrence is repped by CAA and 3 Arts. Read More »
Lionsgate and Samuel and Victor Hadida’s Metropolitan Filmexport have formalized their relationship with an output deal for France. The two companies have long worked together with Metropolitan releasing all of Lionsgate’s major titles in recent years including The … Read More »
There is no deal in place for him to write Lionsgate‘s two-part finale to The Hunger Games, but we’re hearing it’s likely to happen. The Game Change scribe is coming off a … Read More »
Media companies usually don’t crow about the size of their revolving credit facilities. But Lionsgate‘s release today makes it clear that it sees its new deal as a vote of confidence by the banking community in the independent studio’s prospects following its acquisition of Summit Entertainment and success with The Hunger Games. JPMorgan Entertainment Industries Group’s David Shaheen calls it “a testament to the Company’s strong relationships with the financing community and the value of its franchises and filmed entertainment library, and it reflects the significant recent expansion of the Company’s borrowing base.”
The new facility replaces the five-year one due to expire this July. It carries the same interest rate, LIBOR plus 2.5% — which translates to about 3% in today’s low interest rate environment. That should enable the studio to pay down its $436M in high-yield debt which carries a 10% interest rate, potentially resulting in a savings of as much as $30M a year just on interest payments. Big as the Lionsgate facility is, it’s still smaller than Viacom’s $2B facility in 2010 and DreamWorks Animation’s $1B one in 2003.
Here’s the release: Read More »
The rating service followed through today on the path it hinted it would take in March when it put Lionsgate‘s debt under review. It only delivered a small bump: Lionsgate’s corporate family went to … Read More »
Lionsgate announced today that the home entertainment release of the first installment of its blockbuster franchise The Hunger Games was also the largest digital and on demand launch in the Company’s history, generating the biggest first day … Read More »
BREAKING: Since Gary Ross dropped out of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, he kicked the tires on a bunch of projects. He has now firmed up the Disney film Peter And The Starcatchers as his next … Read More »
Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy is now Amazon’s top-selling book series of all time, outselling the seven-book Harry Potter series, the online retailer announced today. That takes both physical and e-books into consideration. Hunger Games achieved … Read More »